Everyone knows you need to have the right tools for the job and for an IT professional some tools are an absolute necessity. Whether it’s tools to troubleshoot and diagnose technical issues or just little hacks that make tasks a little quicker, there are plenty of tools out there to make our lives easier.
In fact, there are so many tools out there, sometimes it’s difficult just to find the programs we really want and need. So, we have put together a list of tools we have found useful and hope you will too.
For a lot of IT professionals, setting up new systems can be a large part of the job. There are usually two fundamental stages to this process; deleting all the unnecessary pre-installed software from the system and then installing the programs that you actually want and need.
There are plenty of tools out there to help remove pre-installed software, or crapware, but Ninite performs the second part of the job. Simply select the programs you want from the list on Ninite’s website, download your custom install and run the software.
The software takes care of the rest, automatically downloading and installing the requested programs. There is no need to agree to terms and conditions or click next after each install, so you can focus on something else while Ninite installs all your desired software uninterrupted.
2. PC Decrapifier
When taking a shiny new system out of its box, we all know that it’s not quite as quick as it should or could be. This is in large part thanks to the large amount of bloatware, crapware and trialware that manufacturers typically load new computer with.
PC Decrapifier makes removing this unnecessary and unwanted software quick and easy by automatically finding and identifying relevant software for deletion. As a safety measure, the program suggests items for removal which you must approve, ensuring that useful files are not accidentally deleted.
CCleaner (often known as Crap Cleaner) is a tool that does pretty much what you would expect – removes old, unnecessary and temporary files from a local system, freeing up valuable hard drive space and helping your computer to run faster and more efficiently.
This is a great tool to clean and opimize a system and really comes in handy when you get the inevitable “My computer is running slow” phone call. In addition to the ability to run a basic scan and clean, CCleaner also boasts a registry cleaner for advanced users to remove old and unused entries, fonts, file extensions etc.
One of our favorite things about CCleaner is that there is also a portable version available. This allows you to add the software to a portable drive and perform a scan and clean on any device without the need to install. So, you can move from office to office and quickly blitz those old and unused files.
Defraggler is another free piece of software from Piriform, the people behind CCleaner – although there is also a paid version available which includes premium support. This is a fast and useful disk defragmentation tool which offers a number of benefits over the standard Windows Disk Defragmenter.
Whether you want to defragment a single file, an entire partition, or even your drive’s empty space to prevent fragmentation occurring Defraggler gives you full control and allows you to customize the process. The added capability to schedule the process daily, weekly or monthly, makes this a really useful maintenance tool.
5. Darik’s Boot and Nuke
Whether we want to use the drive in another scenario, transfer it to another employee or securely erase some kind of confidential or sensitive information, sometimes it’s necessary to completely wipe a hard drive or series of drives. DBAN is an open-source software which makes this task easy.
DBAN automatically deletes the content of any hard disk it detects and performs a number of passes, overwriting the data on the drive several times. DBAN is booted from portable software and operates outside of the operating system so can be used on just about any drive.
Just keep in mind that DBAN does not provide audit-ready reporting and may not meet all regulatory compliance requirements. If your business is planning on disposing of hardware or needs documentation to confirm data destruction, you will probably want to opt for the paid version Blancco.
Requests from employees who have accidentally deleted a file that they just have to access are common in just about every office. While Recuva can’t find and recover every file, it offers a free and quick method to recover deleted data and its filtering options and user-friendly user interface make it great for a first attempt.
Even better, Recuva includes a tool to completely wipe files which it identifies. This is a great tool to quickly find and restore an accidentally deleted file but in a business setting where lost data means money, we recommend a more robust enterprise solution to safeguard your data.
HWiNFO is a freeware program for both Windows and Dos which offers comprehensive hardware analysis, monitoring and reporting. HWiNFO allows you to quickly and easily see the specification of a system you are diagnosing with a great level of detail.
In addition to providing you with information relating to the system’s processor, clock speed and BIOS version, HWiNFO can also detect if hardware components are working within normal parameters or overheating and provide you with their current status and failure prediction.
HWiNFO is also available in a portable version which, at only a couple of MBs, can easily sit on your flash drive so you can carry it with you. With an intuitive and easy to use interface and great export and reporting tools, this is a great hardware analysis tool for any IT professional out in the field.
8. Sysinternals Suite
Sysinternals is a suite of tools which absolutely every IT professional working with Windows should have. Starting life as a number of tools to address some of the shortfalls in the operating system’s capabilities, the suite is not an official Microsoft product and is available completely free of charge.
This suite contains a number of essential programs such as Autoruns, DebugView and Process Explorer to help you in managing, diagnosing, troubleshooting and monitoring a Windows environment.
9. Screen Recorder
Do you constantly get the same support requests coming through? Getting tired of talking a user through connecting to the network or selecting the right printer? The next tool on our list can help you to dramatically cut down the amount of time you spend dealing with these kinds of requests.
Screen Recorder from the folks at Icecream Apps is a handy screen recording tool that allows you to capture any area of your screen as either an image or video file. In addition to the usual features you would expect from a screen recording tool, Icecream App’s screen recorded tool has some great features such as audio capability, a zoom function and the ability to draw on your recordings.
So, rather than talk the same users through the same issues time and time again, you can simply make a video tutorial available to all employees and save you and them some valuable time. Screen Recorded is also useful during support calls as you can quickly upload screenshots to the apps server and share a short URL via Instant Message or email.
Malwarebytes is one of the most popular anti-malware tools available today and often succeeds at removing stubborn malware where other anti-virus software fails. The software also utilizes a proprietary technology called Chameleon which prevents malware from modifying its processes.
While there is a free version for personal use, businesses will need to download the premium version if they plan to use it in a commercial setting. However, the premium version offers a number of additional benefits such as continuously running in the background to prevent future infections.
File Analyzer Lite
File Analyzer Lite allows you to quickly and easily analyze the data stored on your servers and is completely free to download. File Analyzer Lite gives you insight into how your storage is being used, the average age of the files on your server and the amount of storage space you could save by utilizing an archiving solution.
Click here to download your free copy now and start analyzing your file server storage.